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Jorge Del Calvo got a haircut. He also cleaned his office, bought some real dress shoes in lieu of his Birkenstock sandals and started wearing shirts that button. That’s how serious he got last year about making a good impression. The Silicon Valley Pillsbury Winthrop partner decided to polish up his act to help shore up his dwindling client base. Some 40 percent of his practice comprised Internet companies at the start of 2001, and throughout the year, 80 percent of them dropped out of sight. Nevertheless, Del Calvo said he has managed to rebuild his $23 million book of business. “I started targeting networking and communications companies, which tend to be run by people who are 45 to 55 years old, and I wanted to look like somebody they would actually hire,” Del Calvo said. Del Calvo, who in 1994 took public one of the first Internet companies, even erased from the firm’s Web site the fact that he’s the Internet group’s founder. “You say you’re the founder of the Internet group and people will throw bombs at your house,” Del Calvo said. The 46-year-old lawyer said the past few years were about relating to clients, most of whom were younger than he was and didn’t care how he looked. It was a crazy time for fast and furious legal work. “I was so exhausted that the thought of getting dressed was tiring,” Del Calvo said. But now his starched and tailored shirts even have his initials monogrammed on the sleeves, just like an investment banker or a New York lawyer. And if this year is anything like the last one, Del Calvo said, he’s going to start thinking about wearing a suit and tie. “I start every year the same way – in a complete and total panic because you start every year at zero,” Del Calvo said. “I’m X-million dollars away from my goal, and the target gets bigger every year.”

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